A resident at Solas’ Clarence Place hostel since April and habitual cannabis user for over 11 years, has spoken openly about how he has taken control and is turning his life around. Referred to as ‘A’ as he is very shy and wishes to remain anonymous, here is his story …
Born and brought up in Bettws, Newport, 30 year old ‘A’ and his miniature staffordshire bull terrior Ace happily lived with his parents. After undertaking several warehouse and production jobs he studied for his NVQ’s and RHS exams so he could pursue his dream career in gardening.
‘A’ does not have a large group of friends, and suffers with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and is prone to bouts of depression, for which he takes regular medication. His depression was triggered when he recently lost a close friend and his grandfather in close succession.
A keen cyclist, his bike was his prize possession, getting him to and from his jobs and helping him keep fit and active.
‘A’’s life began to unravel earlier this year when his parents decided to sell their home to move into a rented property, unfortunately, the landlord would not allow pets, and he didn’t want to leave his beloved Ace behind. Around the same time he was knocked off his bike by a car, resulting in a severe injury to his knee, which has rendered him unable to work, to cycle and he finds it difficult to walk more than a couple of steps.
In a short space of time ‘A’ found himself unemployed, homeless and not in the best of health. After “camping for a month in my sister’s garden”, he was advised to declare himself homeless, and within a month he was fortunate a vacancy became available at Clarence House.
‘A’ spoke freely about his lack of confidence and bouts of anxiety and to prove a point showed me his shaking hands which he has been hiding throughout our interview which he was “secretly dreading”.
Whilst awaiting a date for an operation on his knee, ‘A’ is not content to sit around and with Solas’ support he is taking control of his own destiny.
He has not smoked cannabis for a month, and after only 9 driving lessons recently passed his driving test first time, “with no errors whatsoever”, “my driving instructor was devastated he hadn’t placed a bet on my 100% performance as my last 5 lessons had been perfect”.
So what now for ‘A’? his immediate aspiration is to keep off the cannabis, and find secure long-term accommodation for both himself and Ace, ideally with a local housing association, close to his sister as he regularly looks after his niece and nephew.
Next on ‘A’s bucket list is to get a job, buy a new corsa and eventually gain employment “driving for Eddie Stobart”, and with such determination, we have no doubt that he will.
Victoria Bebb, Solas Accommodation Co-ordinator said “’A’ is an inspiration to both the other service users and staff, we are very proud of him and touched that we are able to support him to do so well”.
Article added: 20th December 2016